Friday, January 25, 2013


by Steven Boone

Every February since 2008, Odie "Odienator" Henderson has written a full-length pop culture essay for each day of Black History Month.

I forget where I first heard the legend of the lady who died from laughing at Richard Pryor’s movie WHICH WAY IS UP?, but that tall tale accounts for why I greet each new installment of Odie's BLACK HISTORY MUMF with some apprehension:  They  almost killed me, five years in a row.

Those readers already familiar with BLACK HISTORY MUMF’s creator know about his lethal comic potential.  I was first warned about the man via a Ross Reudiger blog post entitled Da Lawd Gets da Beatdown, which simply recalled something Odie had written (in the comments section at our old hangout, The House Next Door) about the film The Passion of the Christ:
Thanks for bringing up Da Lawd Gets Da Beat Down, I mean The Passion of the Christ. Forgive me for this brief story about the day I went to see it. I was standing in line outside the theater doors. People started coming out of the theater, or rather, they were stumbling out as if they'd been hit by a bus. Little kids were coming out with wet, red faces and the kind of bloodshot eyes reserved for the singer in the song Lush Life.

The first "normal" looking person to exit the theater was this heavy-set, older Black woman. She reminded me of the women who frequented the church I used to go to when I was growing up. I knew her type well, as some members of my family are just like her. She had a cherubic face, and she smiled at me, which put me at ease. She seemed so poised in a church lady kind of way. As she passed me, she touched my arm. I said "yes, ma'am?" And she looked me in the eye and said, as seriously as a heart attack, "Child, I mean they WHUPPED...HIS... ASS!"

That was almost seven years ago. I was eating something when I read that last line, and, for all I know, bits of it are still lodged in my windpipe.

Since then, Odie has become my bruva frum anuva muva, the Stripe to my Gizmo, the Meth to my Red (or, for you young fools, the French Montana to my Chinx Drugz). My Gmail archives contain at least 300 pages of original Odie comedy in the form of radio skits, musical numbers, short screenplays, outrageous true stories (the greatest of these being the THE BIG TITTY DENTAL ASSISTANT and THE DICK-CRAZY DEAF CHICK), fake news reports, fake letters to God from The Color Purple's Celie, death threats from the likes of Ike Turner, Diana Ross and Big Percy, speeches by Odiebama (Obama’s testosterone-infused alter-ego, a recurring character onBig Media Vandalism),  X-rated rap lyrics and action-packed travel writing.
You don't wanna know what he asked Princess Aurora.
But those of us privileged to receive these Odie emails have no cause to gloat.  Anybody who visits BIG MEDIA VANDALISM can read close to 130 BLACK HISTORY MUMF pieces, plus at least as many other articles Odie has penned here since joining the blog in 2007.

In 2011, he became this blog’s E.I.C./H.N.I.C., giving  his growing cult of followers a place to nearly-die-laughing on a regular basis,  alongside his personal blog, TALES OF ODIENARY MADNESS.

BLACK HISTORY MUMF VI will be the deadliest yet. Odie may have gone on to become a bigtime cinema lecturer and film writer for venues like, but he has yet to pull one punch. I don’t want to spoil anything, but what Odie’s got cooking this time around already gave me sore ribs. What all the laughter tends to conceal, though, is the abundance of insight, historical scholarship, political passion and plain brilliant writing you’ll have digested by February 28. That sneaky muffuh.

^ Not Odie. For new jacks, here's a clue.

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